Possible Liable Parties After a Truck Accident

Published on July 23rd, 2019

Possible Liable Parties After a Truck Accident Thurswell LawEvery driver on the road owes a duty of care to operate a vehicle in a safe and responsible manner. Commercial drivers are held to an even higher duty of care than ordinary drivers, because they drive heavy big rigs that can do huge amounts of damage in an accident. That is why truck drivers and commercial trucking generally are regulated by trucking laws at the federal and state level.

A truck driver isn’t always totally, or even partially, at-fault in an accident involving a heavy truck. There are numerous parties who have a connection to the typical tractor trailer, all of whom could face liability for causing a truck to crash. In fact, in a truck accident, several parties may share liability for contributing to an unsafe condition on the road.

Parties With Potential Legal Liability for Truck Accidents

A truck driver has significant responsibility for keeping others on the road safe from harm, but the truck driver isn’t the only person who owes a duty of care. Multiple parties typically have a role to play in keeping a truck and its driver operating safely on the road. Here is a summary of some of the many parties who could have legal liability for damages after a Michigan truck accident.

The Truck Driver

Of course, in any truck accident, the truck driver may face legal liability for causing injuries and damages if his actions led to the crash. Violating state or federal laws and/or regulations, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driving distracted, and driving drowsy could all cause an accident and lead to the driver facing liability. That is because any of those actions would violate the truck driver’s duty of care to other motorists.

The Truck Owner

A truck owner may be an individual or a company. The driver could also be the owner. A trucking company may also lease trucks from another company. The person who owns the truck could be liable if the owner does not keep up with truck maintenance, including maintenance for the engine, brakes, suspension, steering, air, hydraulics and other integral parts that keep the truck safe.

The Trucking Company

Depending on the employment arrangement, the trucking company could be liable for an accident. If a driver is not an independent contractor but is an employee, the trucking company could be held responsible for the actions of its employee—the truck driver. If an inspection is not completed properly or the company cuts corners on safety or even forces the driver to meet unrealistic delivery deadlines, the company may be liable.

Automotive (Including Truck) Manufacturers and Maintenance Contractors

In some cases, a truck part that malfunctions or is defective could be the cause of a truck accident. If the part was defective, its manufacturer could be held liable. If the part malfunctioned because of faulty maintenance, the maintenance contractor could be held liable.

Cargo Owners, Loaders and Distributors

If the distributor or cargo owner does not take precautions to ensure dangerous materials are safely loaded or handled properly and the cargo causes an accident, the cargo owner or distributor may be held liable for injuries and damage caused by the accident. The manufacturer of the cargo could also be held liable if a defect in the cargo causes an accident. Additionally, the cargo loader could be held liable if the loader did not inspect the cargo and ensure that it was secured properly.

Passenger Vehicle Drivers

Drivers of passenger vehicles need to give big rigs plenty of room and respect. With loads of upwards of 60,000 pounds or more, plus the weight of the truck, a truck is not going to stop on a dime. In fact, it takes a much longer distance for a truck driver to stop because of all that weight. Passenger vehicle drivers who cut trucks off or don’t give them enough room when passing often cause accidents because the truck cannot slow down fast enough to avoid a collision.

Injuries and Damages

Because big rigs are so big and heavy, they usually do more damage to property and cause catastrophic injuries to those involved in a truck accident. Injuries may range from strained or pulled muscles to brain damage, physical disabilities and even death. A victim of a truck accident could be maimed for life and could require medical care, including therapy and ongoing medical care years afterward.

If you have been injured in a truck accident, you should always contact a truck accident lawyer to help you determine if you have a claim for damages. Never try to settle with insurance companies on your own, especially if you have long-term or permanent injuries. A truck accident lawyer will work to get you the compensation you are entitled to, including what you need to pay for future doctors’ appointments and care, and to compensate you for your lost wages, pain, and suffering.

After the Accident

If you are able to give a statement after the accident, never admit fault. Even if you think the accident was your fault or partially your fault, do not admit to it or say anything that could be construed as an admission. The truck driver may have also been partially at fault. If so, you may be entitled to a partial settlement. Always contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible.

If you are a relative of someone who was killed in a truck accident, you should also contact a truck accident attorney as soon as possible as you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney for More Information

If you were in a truck accident or if a loved one was killed in a truck accident, call an experienced truck crash lawyer to get your questions answered.

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